Niffie started painting immediately after her DBS procedure and its wondrous gift: the ability to experience days as colors. She doesn’t begin a piece with an idea or image in mind. “My process is, what color speaks to me today? And once I put it to paper, it creates itself.”
Green days are sloppy days, good for chalk, a forgiving medium. Yellow days are warm. Black Days? “They are linear. They are structured. They are focused.” Perfect for line drawings, these are the days when her symptoms are most in check. But whatever the color of the day, art takes her away from Parkinson’s and any other worldly problems.
Thomas says that, while Parkinson’s took her piano, and took her dance, it gave her a paintbrush.
“I don’t consider myself an artist. I have a lot to say, and this is my way of saying it. The compulsion is that I want to say everything I want to say before I can no longer say it. I want to get it all out there before I’m not me.”
Whatever the medium, she would encourage everyone else to do the same.